In an interview with Russian media organizations ahead of his July 3-4 state visit to Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China's stance on the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, the Syrian civil war and anti-terror cooperation with Moscow.[Special coverage]
In the interview published Monday, Xi said that the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea "seriously undermines the strategic security interests of China, Russia and other regional countries, and upsets the strategic balance in the region."
"China and Russia have maintained close communication and coordination at various levels on this matter. Our two sides have a high degree of agreement in our perceptions of the nature of this issue and the harm it will bring," said the president, adding that Beijing and Moscow "firmly oppose" such deployment and urge relevant country to stop and cancel it.
The deployment of THAAD, which can shoot down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles during the latter stage of their flight, was agreed by Washington and deposed former South Korean President Park Guen-hye's administration, citing the increasing threat of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
The incumbent government of Moon Jae-in suspended the installation in early June, saying while it will not withdraw the two launchers that are already in place, four additional launchers will not be deployed until a thorough environmental impact assessment is completed.
"China and Russia will take necessary measures, jointly or individually, to preserve our security interests and regional strategic balance," Xi warned without elaborating.
To solve the long-standing and complicated Korean Peninsula issue China has proposed a dual-track approach of advancing denuclearization and establishing a peace mechanism in parallel.
Meanwhile, Beijing has also put forward a suspension-for-suspension proposal that requires Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
Xi said China's suggestion has gained unequivocal support and understanding from the Russian side as well as growing positive response from the international community.
SYRIAN CIVIL WAR
With regard to the civil war in Syrian, Xi, calling it "the most complicated and intractable hotspot in the Middle East," reiterated that a political solution is the only way out, adding that it "has inflicted untold hardships on the Syrian people and posed a grave challenge to regional and global peace and stability."
"China's position on the issue is consistent. We maintain that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria should be upheld and respected, that the future of Syria should be decided by the Syrian people on their own, and that political settlement is the only viable way out," he said.
Citing positive signs in the Astana meeting in mid-March and the latest progress on the United Nation-brokered Geneva talks, Xi urged more efforts to "lock in the hard-won momentum of political settlement, while calling for support for the UN's role as the main channel for engaging the Syrian government and the opposition in "consultation with good faith and patience."
"China commends Russia for its important and positive influence and role in facilitating a proper settlement of the Syrian issue," the president added.
The Chinese president also spoke highly of the anti-terror cooperation between Beijing and Moscow, noting that such cooperation " is an important component of our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and sets a fine example for the broader global counter-terrorism cooperation."
"Such cooperation serves peace and stability in this region and beyond as well as the fundamental interests of our two countries. Our sound cooperation in fighting the 'three forces' of terrorism, separatism and extremism through law enforcement and security cooperation mechanisms plays an important and positive role in maintaining stability and promoting development in our two countries and this region at large."
While urging the international community to strive for stability in Syria and other Middle East countries at an early date, Xi called for the rejection of double standards and fully leveraging the leading roll of the UN in the fight against terrorism.
"Counter-terrorism is still used by some countries as a means to advance their own national interests, and double standards are applied in fighting terrorism. As a result, the international counter-terrorism cooperation tends to be fragmented and treated as a convenient tool. Synergy is hard to forge under such circumstances," Xi said.
He also said "a long-term perspective and a multi-pronged approach" should be adopted, one that eyes on "political, economic and cultural fronts, with a view to not only addressing the symptoms but also eliminating the hotbed for terrorism."
The Chinese president travels to Moscow on Monday for a state visit to Russia, which is to be followed by one to Germany, where he will attend the upcoming summit of the Group of 20 major economies.